Pirates Take Three Russian Crew from Merchant Ship

Three crewmembers, citizens of Russia, were taken from the merchant vessel Saronic Breeze after the ship was hijacked off the coast of Cotonou, Benin on November 27, according to The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

The kidnapped crew were taken “in an unknown direction” and “no contact with them has been established so far,” the ministry said on December 1.

Saronic Breeze with the rest of the crew returned to the port of Cotonou, where it is still anchored, according to AIS data provided by MarineTraffic.

The ministry informed that the crew “is in satisfactory health.”

The 1991-built reefer ship was carrying 18 Russians and two Ukrainians at the time of the incident which occurred some 72 nautical miles off the coast of Cotonou.

“The Russian embassies in Benin and Nigeria are maintaining close contact with the authorities of those countries in order to identify the whereabouts and ensure the speedy release of our citizens,” the ministry said.

According to data provided by Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) last week, the vessel was travelling south when it changed direction to head back into port.

World Maritime News Staff

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